Donner Pass

Donner Pass (HMFLM)

Location: Truckee, CA 96161 Nevada County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 19.111', W 120° 19.115'

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Who Passed This Way

For thousands of years, people have crossed the Sierra Nevada near this place called Donner Pass.

Traveling by foot, wagon, train or automobile, the journey has always been challenging.

By Foot
Long before it's "discovery" by Euro-Americans, this 7,000 foot pass was used as a travel corridor by Native Americans.

The Washoe Indians trekked through the area, from their Great Basin home enroute to the foothills of California, to gather acorns and to trade. They brought items such as salt, obsidian, rabbit skins and pine nuts to trade with the California Indians for other food items, animal skins and sea shells.

By Wagon
In 1844, Elisha Stephens led the first wagon party across this rocky pass, blazing the emigrant trail. The western migration era had arrived! Nearly 300,000 people crossed the Sierra Nevada during this covered wagon movement, including the ill-fated Donner Party in 1846-47.

Incorporating portions of the emigrant trail, the Dutch Flat and Donner Lake Wagon Road was completed in 1864, opening the area to permanent settlement.

By Train
From 1866 to 1868, thousands of laborers, including Chinese, drilled and blasted through these granite cliffs, making way for the first transcontinental railroad - The Central Pacific Railroad. From this point, you can see the results of that massive effort.

Because of this railroad link, traveling across the nation now seemed quick and easy. This lured more than emigrants out west and marked the beginnings of this area's tourist economy.

By Auto
By 1909, motorists were ascending Donner Pass via a primitive unpaved road. In 1913, this Sierra route was incorporated into the Lincoln Highway - the first driving route linking the east and west coasts.

This section of the Lincoln Highway was replaced by Highway 40 in 1926. Highway 40 served as the major driving route over Donner Pass until Interstate 80 was completed in 1964
Series This marker is part of the Lincoln Highway series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 5th, 2014 at 4:21am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)10S E 731160 N 4355552
Decimal Degrees39.31851667, -120.31858333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 19.111', W 120° 19.115'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 19' 6.66" N, 120° 19' 6.90" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)530, 775, 415
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 19322-19326 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee CA 96161, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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